Transparency International Malaysia (TI-M) expresses its disappointment when it was learnt that the agreement between the Government and the existing private operators of the controversial Automated Enforcement System (AES) was classified under the Official Secrets Act (OSA).
TI-M would like to express that, in the eyes of the ordinary Malaysians all of whom would be affected by the implementation of the AES does not seem to be any reason why the agreement for delivery of the AES was classified as official secrets and could not be revealed to the public, as reportedly was the reply by the Acting Minister of Transport, Datuk Seri Hishamuddin Hussein to a question by Segambut MP, Lim Lip Eng dated July 17, stated that.
With the increasing speed of the internet, news travel around the world in the split of a second. Information, including rumours and fabricated news, can be disseminated via social media and all other channels.
To combat the spread of fabricated news, the Government should be more transparent especially in areas involving government procurement. Moreover, the Secretary-General of Treasury, Ministry of Finance Malaysia have had issued a directive in April 2010 to all ministries, federal departments, agencies and local government to implement integrity pacts.
On this note, it should consider seriously to do away with the Official Secrets Acts (OSA). Official Secrets or Top Secrets should only apply to sensitive Government documents involving the procurement of military defence equipment; all other documents should be made available to the people’s representatives for scrutiny.
This will also help restore public confidence in the Government, which in the past, has always been seen as operating in a cloud of secrecy.
If the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak is serious about fighting corruption, he should emulate the Selangor and Penang State Government which has enacted the Freedom of Information Act, because removing the cloud of secrecy around public procurements is the best way to ensure that all procurements are done above board.
Dato’ Akhbar Bin Satar, President
Dr Loi Kheng Min, Secretary-General